With playing time likely to be scarce for Rusney Castillo in the immediate future given Boston's crowded outfield, John Farrell has acknowledged that there's some consideration to sending him to the minor leagues to get consistent playing time. And while Farrell has also said that's not something that happening just yet, it makes all the sense in the world for the Red Sox to pull the trigger soon.
Except it also makes no sense whatsoever and is absolutely maddening.
Part of the objection to such a move is grounded not in logic, but frustration. We've been through this cycle with Castillo before, and it just feels terrible to be diving back into it again. It's been more than a year now. Red Sox fans don't want to be stuck in a loop with this guy--we want to know if he's any good, or if we can just move on once and for all. And sending him to the minors doesn't tell us that.
But that's not the real problem here. In fact, the real problem isn't even here anymore. The real problem is David Murphy.
Decisions like this one don't come from nowhere. Dave Dombrowski and John Farrell did not suddenly wake up one day and say "y'know, maybe we should send Castillo to the minors." If it's a possibility now, it was certainly on their radar a couple weeks ago, especially given that nothing has changed between now and then to make them any more or less confident in Castillo. Even Brock Holt's role as a starter seemed to be decided well before the late Pablo Sandoval/Travis Shaw move.
So let's rewind the clocks. You have David Murphy, a solid bench outfielder with the team, but in need of a 25-man roster spot to avoid him invoking his opt-out clause. You also have some idea that Rusney Castillo might be sent to the minor leagues. I feel like I don't really need to spell this one out.
It's not like 40-man space is a problem, either. Look, I'm a Sean Coyle fan because I'm the sort of person who refuses to forget a few hundred at bats from five years ago in Low-A (and a couple years ago in Portland, to be fair). But who's adding Coyle to their 25-man roster to snag him off of waivers? Call me crazy, but I'm just not seeing it.
Maybe Rusney Castillo stays up with the team. If he does, it'll be hard to object given just how maddening it would be to see this cycle resume. But there's a lot of reason to think that he should be headed to Pawtucket, and even more reason to think that if he does go there, the Red Sox will have exhibited a concerning lack of foresight in allowing David Murphy to leave before that happened.
Not a big deal, in the long run, but not a good look either.